Researchers from the University of Missouri St. Louis have conducted a study called “The Sport Behavior of Youth, Parents and Coaches: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, which was published today in the Journal of Research in Character Education. The study found the following:

•Nearly one out of every 10 youth athletes between 9 and 15 years old acknowledged cheating
•13 percent admitted to having tried to hurt an opponent
•31 percent indicated they had argued with an official
•13 percent reported they had made fun of a less-skilled athlete
•27 percent reported that they acted like bad sports
•4 percent said a coach had hit, kicked or slapped them

The research also found that most participants enjoy their experience and most parents thing the coaches are doing a good job.

The research also found that eight percent of coaches have acknowledged encouraging their players to hurt an opponent and seven percent have encouraged their players to cheat. 33 percent admitted yelling at players for making mistakes and 20 percent have made fun of a team member.

This research is the first of its kind and is expected to lay the groundwork for more studies. I

The research was conducted by David Shields, affiliate assistant professor of education at UMSL and Brenda Bredmeier, associate professor of education at UMSL. It included interview with 803 athletes from 9-15 years old and 189 parents and 61 coaches.